For many years our family lived at or below the poverty level. Carl was in school (university and Seminary) for the first ten years of our marriage. Then from 2008-2012 Carl didn’t have a full-time job; he worked several part-time jobs concurrently. Now, I don’t say this so you can feel sorry for us; these were amazing years. In fact, we wrote a book about our four year unemployment season and how we actually thrived during it.
I’m telling you this because I really want to give you perspective for today’s post. There were many years when $5 might have well have been $500. We just didn’t have it.
We could have just opted out of Christmas and our family would have totally understood. We have a really great family like that. But we want our children to be givers and not just receivers and we wanted them to see their parents be givers and not just receivers. So we had to get creative.
I wonder how many people opt out of Christmas because they don’t have any extra money? It makes me sad.
So, I went hunting for gifts that could be made for a dollar or less. For some of these things you might need tools or need to buy something that will make more than one item. But, for the most part, each item is made with supplies that cost less than a dollar.
Last year Phoebe made painted little wood signs for everyone. This one is mine. She used acrylic paint, thin craft plywood and tulle ribbon.
This wasn’t a gift but I think it would make a nice gift. This is what Phoebe hangs her earrings and necklaces on; a thrifted frame with chicken wire attached to the back (she used a staple gun) and a wire across the top. You could also use a piece of burlap instead of chicken wire.
I just love this sign. I made them for each couple in our family a couple of years ago after seeing this idea for a JOY sign from An Oregon Cottage. I just used scrapbooking paper and printed out the letters on our computer. I got the frames from the thrift store and spray painted them.
Each of the photos below go to a full tutorial. To learn how to make the gift just click on the photo.
You can find more gifts that cost a little more than a dollar on our Handmade Christmas page.
When I was looking around I saw some really amazing art made from pallets – everything from Welcome signs to tables. Pallets are everywhere, just ask before taking one.
If you have a drill press consider making a cribbage board. Gabriel made these one year from a branch from a tree that needed to be cut down.
Homemade jams and jellies also makes a great gift. If you need help with edible gift ideas you might consider Gift It From Scratch ebook. It’s full of great recipes and fun (and frugal) gift giving ideas.
If you are struggling financially this Christmas, don’t opt out of Christmas and for goodness sake, don’t go into debt buying things that people don’t really need or want. There are so many meaningful gifts that don’t cost much money that you can give to your loved ones.
Do you have a meaningful gift idea that is also very frugal? Please leave a comment telling us about it. Feel free to leave a link to a tutorial.